Mike Thalassitis, the Love Island star, died aged 26, on March 16th. He was found hanged in a North London Park, according to Met Police. The case is not treated as a suspicious death, as evidence shows clear signs of suicide. Categorized by his friends as a proper gentleman, the star was recently struggling with anxiety and depression, stemming from the difficulties of coming out of the spotlight so suddenly.
💚MENtal health 💚
Did you know in Britain 84 men take their own lives a week ?
Is there a mate missing on your boys night out tonight? Reach out to him.. if a mates acting differently it could be a sign of mental health problems. Try help him 💚#MikeThalassitis pic.twitter.com/DksCfNo2Ck
— Katelyn Bolton (@katelyn_boltonx) March 17, 2019
The journey from being a regular individual and them becoming a showman also seemed to put a lot of pressure on Mike Thalassitis.
The celebrity opened up about his mental struggles in the past. In 2013, the celebrity said he unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide by overdosing. Although, at the time, he claimed that seeking professional help helps enormously, “it’s not something that goes away.”
The reality show world, especially the Love Island world, seems to put a lot of pressure on contestants. The reality show organizers seem to overlook the contestants’ well-being and neglect their mental health. Another Love Islander, Sophie Gradon, was also found dead in her home in June 2018. Although the Love Island broadcaster claimed that the contestants’ mental health is being taken very seriously and the team is making everything possible for them to access proper psychological support, the cast seems to be under severe psychological pressure.
According to behavioural psychologists that collaborated with reality shows, more than this has to be done in the reality show world to help contestants overcome stress, anxiety and depression. The show is not finished when broadcasters stop filming it. For contestants, it leads to long and crippling anxiety, and ultimately, to suicide, just like it did in Mike’s and Sophie’s case.
Men’s Mental Health is Usually Overlooked
Mike Thalassitis’ suicide brings once again men’s mental health under the spotlight.
Traditionally, men are seen as immune to mental struggles. They have more internalizing disorders, but externalising symptoms. While women seem to speak up about their mental struggles, men enclose those feelings and only act in certain ways. They become violent, abuse substances or show self-destructive behaviours.
The patterns showed above come from traditional gender roles and differences. Men respond to stress, anxiety and other negative events in their lives in a way in which society expects them to. In studies and research papers, practitioners also have a tendency to overlook male distress. This leads to underestimations of mental health disorders in men and creates a severe gender-gap when assessing and treating those.
Numerous research papers identified a silent crisis in men’s mental health. Evidence has found that men are less likely to use mental health services to treat their mental disorders. Male suicides account for 75% of total suicides in the US. And in other areas of the world, the proportions are preserved. Geographically, males living in rural areas and small towns have higher suicide rates, worldwide. Unemployment is one of the main reasons why males commit suicide. The traditional breadwinner role that has been attributed to men puts increasing pressure on them. When they are unable to meet this particular role, men lose the sense of purpose and meaning in life, but their pride also has to suffer.
Their masculinity is attributed to resilience and men are taught even at an early age not to cry, show emotions and so on. The cultural background also seems to play a role. Latino, Asian and Black men are less likely to admit themselves in mental health institutions, unfortunately.
In only 4 seasons of @LoveIsland, 2 people have passed away from suicide after leaving the show. Surely that statistic should wake up @ITV @itv2 and the production crew to the damages of post LI life. RIP angels @sophiegradon @MikeThalassitis #LoveIsland #mikethalassitis pic.twitter.com/eSlvDX3RQP
— The Saniac Podcast (@saniacpodcast) March 16, 2019
Mental Issues Usually Result in Addiction, in Men
Males seem to be more likely to pick up destructive behaviours. The rate at which substance abuse occurs in males compared to females is 3 to 1. Experts see this as a slow-motion suicide. Males usually engage in such behaviours as a response to stressful life situations, to overcome anxiety or numb depressive thoughts. Men have negative experiences in court during divorce and are rarely granted custody of their children. For many, the separation anxiety is making them search for different coping methods, but those are rarely healthy and professional ones.
Therapy and Counselling for Mental Struggles and Addiction
The link between mental struggles and addiction in males is obvious for specialists. In males, anxiety and depression usually result in substance abuse.
People struggling with mental issues seem to follow an addiction pattern or cycle. To relief emotional pain, men start craving relaxation, a way to escape the feeling. They start using prescription medication, alcohol or hard drugs, some might even start to engage in self-harm. For a short interval, relief appears, but the user also starts to realise the negative effects of their behaviour. This usually results in low self-esteem, guilt and depression. And the cycle starts over with them trying to escape the new negative emotions. Addiction adds more layers to one’s anxiety. The pattern can be overcome, but unfortunately, recovery chances without professional help are relatively low.
Rehabilitation clinics have developed over time more effective, personalised therapies and counselling sessions for each patient. Approaching the roots of addiction before trying to tackle addiction itself offers specialists a holistic and more effective approach on both mental disorders and addiction.
Modern treatment centres offer structured rehabilitation and withdrawal management programs for mental health sufferers that show addictive behaviours. These programs are tailored depending on each patient’s needs and particularity to ensure ongoing effectiveness. Paired with residential rehab and counselling or therapy sessions, these methods seem to lower relapse chances significantly. To identify the underlying causes of addiction, specialised centres rely on the following.
- Cognitive therapy;
- Psycho-Dynamic therapy;
- Residential Rehab.
Men are encouraged to seek professional help as soon as they notice that their mental health starts to decline. Feeling angry and acting violently without an apparent reason, feeling sad and worthless after unfortunate events, like a breakup, feeling less of a male because of a job loss, these are not normal feelings. And while sadness is a normal human emotion, men should seek help before their coping mechanisms become destructive.
If you or a loved one is suffering from mental health issues or an addiction and need impartial advice please call Help4Addiction on 0203 955 7700.